Meeting the Dragon
I slip down into the wilderness –
I’ve traveled here to deal with dragons
many times before. I think it is the
shadowed breeze that makes me shiver.
In the sun I find her sitting,
red anger and green scales falling
like maple seed helicopters in spring.
This dragon’s heard me coming and
she knows me. “I want my voice,” she says.
“Let’s talk,” I say, as I shuffle
up a small tornado with my toe.
On my right a black widow spins her web.
Dragon strokes the scorpion dozing
on her knee and shrugs.
“I want my voice.”
A bumble bee buzzes my face.
I clear my throat. A drip of sweat
drops down my neck.
“I’ll let you talk if you’ll be nice,
at least hold back a little.”
She yawns, inspects a talon and satis-
fied picks something fleshy
from between her teeth. She spits:
“I want my voice.”
To my left three mantis females
bite heads off their mates in unison.
Far away black crows caw and
something in the bushes sighs.
I try again to change the dance:
“If I let you out, don’t rein you in,
will you stop when I demand?
Wispy blue smoke drifts in the air
Her tail twitches like a cat intent on prey;
storm clouds approach and a mourning dove cries.
“No compromise,” the dragon says. “I want my voice;”
but adds, “Perhaps later we can speak together.”
Looking for retreat I turn to find
the path has disappeared. Voices rustle
expectation into purple dusky air, and
heat lightening flickers across the sky.
Her familiar fragrance wafts beside me –
She is hot sand, molten glass and ashes.
“Should we warn them?” I ask.
She rattles her scales and smiles.
Song for the Dragon
Dragon by any other name
is angel –
Lucifer: bearer of light
winged creature of the air
You are fairer than children’s laughter.
Your spiced scent lingers long behind you.
You are strawberries and sweet cream.
I savor your taste on my tongue.
You are orange summer and blue ice.
My skin burns at your touch.
For you I unfold the hidden rose
parting the petals with trembling fingers.
I am shaken to the bone.
I am reborn beside you.
Here Beneath the god
And Mary said: “Be it done unto me according
to thy word.” The dragon’s reading
bedtime stories to help me sleep. “Sanitized,”
she snorts and produces another version:
It was my name. You stole it.
Made it into taffy candy
lapping it up
sweet apple breast sugar
claiming me as your own, pre-
tending it’s my idea.
You raped me. I’ll name it
and take back my power –
bastard child –
you were my consort not
my lord, laying at my feet
like a maggot the white bird
came to pluck.
That’s what you did.
Gentled it over, called it love.
Set me up. Made me Queen
of the carnival
while you, pale grub, groveled your way
to the seat and swallowed the throne.
Liars – father lying
for the son, making virgin to whore
who can choose anyone
and is owned by no one. I am
vengeance and I claim
my proper place!
Let there be crows black as piano keys to pluck your babies from the field like withered corn.
Let there be boots with heels spiked like punch to dance across your back.
Let there be pomegranates squashed like broken hearts, hot as hate, rotting in ordered rows.
Let there be blankets of bats to blind you.
Blessed be knives flashing like strobe lights in smoky caverns while you puke fermented wine licked from my thigh.
Blessed be hornets and scorpions stinging your skin to molten sun hanging in a bloodied sky.
May they strike and strike again.
Blessed be Eve, eater of apples, biter of Adam, consort of snakes, begetter of woman.
Here beneath the god
I didn’t like the view –
so I changed it.”
The Morning After
My dragon is in the corner
sitting and chewing her cud.
She’s eaten my leg for breakfast
and left me here
in the shower with steam and
soap and suds, the sun
streaming through the skylight,
me screaming into the fog:
“I’m all off balance!”
“Grow a new leg,” she says,
and licks her lips.
What day is this, what time is
it and how oh how did I get
here with a dragon in the corner dining
on leg happy as a kid in cookies?
In the corner my dragon grins.
I open my mouth to brush my teeth –
a dragon is curled on my tongue.
I take her and place her in the
tumbler, as she softly snores.
I comb my hair and three more fall
out smelling of sleep and my
vanilla perfume. I hang them by their
tails among the hair ties.
I go to get dressed and there’s this dragon
big as a hippo sprawled on the shelf
and dreaming of frogs because
she croaks when I poke her.
I protest to my dragon who’s preening
green scales into place:
“This is too much!” “There are too many!”
“I only invited you!”
She eats my words in mid-air:
“You’ll like them” she says,
And kissing the space beside my cheek
Like a long lost friend she is gone.
lays at sink side
puddled round with water
I watch from the corner
surrounded by jagged teeth
and drifting scraps
of pink paper –
full of cyclone swirling colors
spans the space
between feet and floor
cold air curls
up wet legs
brushes rounded belly
kisses sweat on dimpled breasts –
there are dragons here
with treasures –
come, join me.
Queen Dragon, the Dealer
She’s purple with foxglove scales;
she wears a garland of white daisies,
an orange hat with green fruits
and a veil spun by spiders.
There are thistles around her waist
pink and prickly. She smells
of hay in the rain and dark wet caves
and I don’t know her.
Out of her pocket she pulls
ten decks of cards inky as
oil slicks on the open sea that should
be shiny but there is no sun.
We are sitting cross-legged in clover
and fresh grass, me on a hill
of red ants, and I can’t move. She
chants in a voice like waterfalls:
“Decks are made to deal, cards are
made to choose, it’s time to play,”
and she points to me with her talon.
I remain quite still.
She’s all attention and poise and
we both know the power lies
in the game – the pick of the card just so;
I breathe: “Where is my dragon now?”
The Queen shuffles and waits while cards
start to stir on their own. A locust sings
of heat and the song runs down my spine;
somewhere people are laughing.
Then she’s here, my dragon, inside me.
She winks my eye at the Queen
and picks a deck with my hand. “I’ll deal,”
she says with assurance, and I smile.